jimmy rosenberg

nymnym New
edited July 2007 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 30
JImmy Rosenberg's hand position seems quite strange. Wondering if he follows "Gypsy picking rules" exactly or taking some liberties? He also seems to use his forearm movement more than most gipsy players.



  • YannYann Luxembourg (Old Europe)New
    Posts: 47
    Hi Nym,

    As far as I know, Jimmy Rosenberg is one of the main strictly Gypsy Picking players. His hand position seems weird in that he does not fold his fingers together but on the contrary keeps his hand wide open. But that has no impact on GP whatsoever.

    My own Manouche guitar page in the works: ... toc-en.htm
  • nymnym New
    Posts: 30
    Thanks for yor reply. BTW you have gereat websites!

  • Casey0211Casey0211 New
    Posts: 2

    As someone with a fingerpicking/rock ‘n’ roll background starting to study Gypsy, I love Jimmy Rosenberg for the fact that his right hand is open when he plays. Rest stroke picking is kind of natural to me — fortunately — since I started using what was described to me as “economy picking” in an effort to play faster. But I can’t seem to shake the fingerpicking habit of touching the top of the guitar. Jimmy gives me hope that I might succceed in learning to credibly play GP

  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2022 Posts: 528

    Lightly touching the top of the guitar like stochelo or a more floating open hand line Jimmy going to have little impact on developing a strong gypsy jazz technique. Both options are valid. If you mean anchoring your finger on the top that will be a problem

  • Casey0211Casey0211 New
    Posts: 2

    That’s great to hear. I do tend to keep my right hand anchored in the same spot, but only if I’m Travis-picking; if I’m playing with a pick, the fingers float as necessary.

  • DeuxDoigts_TonnerreDeuxDoigts_Tonnerre Lawrenceville GA USANew Stringphonic #503 Basic, Altamira M30D, Eastman AR810CE, Giannini Craviola
    edited June 2022 Posts: 56

    You can probably make anything work with enough practice. Naturally some things will be easier (or more effective) played one way rather than the other.

    For example, if I am doing le pompe with the upstroke, then my fingers are closed, hand and wrist floating. Hand wrist and elbow work in conjunction to provide the needed action to get the desired upstrokes and down strokes.

    For solo/melody notes, my fingers rest on the pickguard loosely. I can "finesse" notes from the strings if I use mostly wrist and finger action. I can also do a more controlled 4-on-the floor strums this way if my amplified setup is not favorable for upstroke le pompe. I can also "bully" notes from the strings if I use more elbow like I am letting the weight of my arm pluck the note out of the string. Using the weight of my arm to get the note provides a little more volume as well.

    That said, I have found that if I stiffen and straighten up my fingers and anchor them on the pickguard, with most of the movement coming from the elbow, I can do tremolo cleaner and more efficiently than any other hand position or technique. The notes seem to "pop" out nice and consistent when I do it this way. For me, it is much easier and "effective" to "pop" the notes out than trying to "finesse" consistent tremolo using wrist action.

    Your mileage may vary with these different techniques. I would imagine that in the heat of a jam, Django may have taken a few liberties with his own playing techniques for the sake of hitting the notes that he wanted.

  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 196

    I sometimes play with my fingers open like Jimmy for a purely practical reason, when I close my fist I often scrape the top of my fingers on the strings and that can be quite painful in a long jam.

    I've watched lots of gypsy players in places like Samoreau and really, if you watch 10 players, you'll see 10 different ways of picking. It's not a rigid system, everyone evolves their own style. It's dangerous to over romanticise this stuff - people like Stochelo and Angelo learned to play from records, not from some mysterious secret method known only to Sinti.

    Playing with a floating or semi-floating hand is vital though. I've seen players dutifully down picking but because they have their hand locked on the bridge, they sound really quiet. On the other hand, I've seen players who don't use the rest stroke at all but get a great sound and tone because they have a floating hand. It's the dead weight of the hand on the string, not resting on the next string, that creates that explosive sound. Down stroke and rest stroke style picking follows naturally from a floating hand position.

  • Posts: 4,816

    Regarding floating hand, am I not understanding what that really means? To me floating hand implies no part of your hand is touching the guitar. And I get a sense many people coming to this genre think so. But from that perspective, floating hand is a myth because vast majority of top players do somehow anchor their hand in some way.

    So, what does a floating hand really mean?

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • edited June 2022 Posts: 79

    Buco, exactly, and that's why I personally favor "free wrist" or even "floating wrist" because imo, each of those terms describe the style without potentially setting as many immediate limitations on guitarists learning the style; in contrast, saying "floating hand" can set new/newer players up for more failure because it more strongly implies there's never any hand-contact with the fretboard or strings to be made at all and as we all know, that's simply not reality once you're in deep with the style.

  • Posts: 4,816

    Floating wrist is much more accurate.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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